Live events are the heartbeat of any online community, but hosting these events comes with logistical and administrative challenges. Not only are there a lot of moving pieces to keep track of, but since most course creators use a variety of tools, they lack a centralized dashboard for tracking attendance and managing invites. So what are the best solutions for managing events for online communities? This blog post compares three popular live event management tools: Google Calendar, Circle’s Event Manager, and Virtually’s Event Manager.
Google Calendar is a widely popular calendar management tool used by course creators to create a shared calendar, schedule events, invite guests, send automated reminders, and more. While Google Calendar is easy to use and makes setting up recurring events like office hours a breeze, its limitations may become more evident as you scale your program.
Firstly, you have to copy and paste email addresses when sending invitations. You cannot import a CSV or an Excel spreadsheet which may come in handy for larger communities. Google Calendar also offers no attendance tracking, only a count of how many people have accepted or rejected the invitation. Tracking attendance would have to be completed manually during the event.
Overall, Google Calendar is a reliable tool. Still, it does not provide analytics to help with making decisions that could improve your program. It also becomes cumbersome to use as you grow your community.
If you're using Circle to host your community, you might be interested in checking out its newest events feature.
While this feature is currently only available to Circle users, Circle’s Event Manager offers course creators (and members) the ability to host online and offline events and manage their community all in one place. Within Circle, Community members can RSVP to events with one click.
Since Circle makes it easy for members to see all upcoming events, it’s possible to boost attendance instantly.
Similar to Google Calendar, Circle does not offer attendance tracking or analytics. There are also no Zoom integrations, and members cannot easily subscribe to their native calendar (iCalendar, Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.).
Fully integrated with Google Calendar, Zapier, Airtable, Circle, Slack, and more, Virtually’s Event Manager is designed to help course creators put their online program’s calendars on autopilot.
Trusted by top cohort-based courses like Write of Passage, Virtually works with any community platform (not just Circle) and offers powerful analytics, including automatic attendance tracking and post-session feedback surveys.
While Virtually does not support live streaming and currently offers limited RSVP support, it’s possible to create recurring Zoom events and check your dashboard for reports and trends on the performance of your live sessions.
Learn why so many course creators are switching to Virtually and how we can power up your cohort-based course, boot camp, or coaching program.
Danielle Desir is an author, freelance writer and the host of The Thought Card, an affordable-travel and personal finance podcast. (danielledesir.com) Follow on Twitter: @thethoughtcard